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Re: Grant proposal around women in college and open source

Hi Bart,

Your proposal sounds interesting to me.  I think that if you succeed in
implementing this project it could be of value to Debian Women (I can't speak
for LinuxChix).  However I have a couple of initial questions.

1) What would an "organization leader's signature on a memorandum of
understanding" imply in terms of the commitment being made by Debian Women, if
we were to do this?  Would it imply a greater level of commitment to activities
than we are already making by running the project as we are doing, and if so,
can you describe what sort of things you have in mind.

2) Debian Women is not run in a particularly hierarchial way and we don't have
someone who can "officially" speak for all of us, let alone commit all of us to
any particular thing, though there are a small group of people, myself included,
who have been involved in making most of the major decisions and are thus
defacto "leaders" of the project, as far as we have them.  Would this be a
problem for your aims?  (I'm not trying to imply a general lack of commitment
among the Debian Women community - collectively we are a dedicated and
enthusiastic bunch - but this is a pretty fundamental aspect of a volunteer
project being run as ours is.)

Barton C Massey wrote:
> Greetings,
> I've discussed this with a few of you briefly previously,
> but I've let time run short, and need to get things settled
> quickly.  In brief, we are looking for the support of
> LinuxChix and/or Debian-Women as we put together a funded
> program to attract and support women computer scientists
> through open source.  Please excuse the length of the rest
> of this message, but I want to be clear as to our plans and
> goals.
> I'm Bart Massey <bart@cs.pdx.edu>. I'm an open source
> developer (http://xcb.freedesktop.org, http://nickle.org,
> http://summer.cs.pdx.edu, and other projects) and an
> Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Portland State
> University (e.g. http://wiki.cs.pdx.edu/ossclass) in
> Portland, Oregon USA.  KernelChix leader Kristen
> Carlsen-Accardi here in Portland will vouch for me, if that
> helps establish my bona fides :-).
> My Dept. Head, Dr. Cynthia Brown, and I are currently
> working on an US National Science Foundation proposal we
> think you might be interested in.  The NSF is looking to
> attract underrepresented groups into college computer
> science.  Specifically, we're currently targeting NSF
> Solicitation 05-562 on "Broadening Participation in
> Computing"
>   http://nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=13510&org=CISE&from=home
> (although if that falls through, there are other similar
> venues for this sort of work.)
> We deplore the fact that women are so highly
> underrepresented in our field.  To address this issue, we
> propose that involvement in open source may be one way to
> attract women into computing that can lead to their
> involvement in a college computer science curriculum at both
> the undergraduate and graduate levels.
> We have formed a coalition of partners in Oregon and
> Washington USA including IBM, Clark College, Lane Community
> College, and others with the goal of putting together an
> open-source based academic computer science "track" that
> would offer support and mentorship for women as they
> progress from technical "outsiders" to advanced open source
> developers and computer scientists.
> Our proposal is more than just local.  It includes funding
> for a portal site dedicated to helping women in open source
> into and through academia.  We think that this can be
> effective in supporting and encourage women in computer
> science academia internationally.
> That is where you folks come in.  We're going to need the
> kind of volunteer mentoring and tutoring of women in open
> source and related technologies that you are already
> providing.  In return, we can provide various kinds of
> financial support, help with advertising and promotion, and
> offer solid, caring mentoring and advising about academic
> issues from an open source perspective.
> In short, we'd like women-in-open-source partners with
> experience and dedication.  We think your organizations are
> the best fit for our needs. I understand that your
> organizations have specific open source focii---we are
> comfortable working within that space, and hopefully we can
> provide a broader context for your efforts.
> What we'd like to get from you, preferably in the next few
> days (the proposal deadline is June 14), is an organization
> leader's signature on a memorandum of understanding that
> would show your support for this proposal as we apply to the
> NSF for funding.  I'd be happy to draft this memorandum with
> your guidance, or you may prefer to draft it yourselves.
> I'll be quite interested to hear your thoughts on this.
> Please let me know if there's any way I can help to clarify
> the proposal or address concerns.  And thank you very much
> for your time and attention.
> 			Sincerely,
> 			Bart Massey
> 			bart@cs.pdx.edu

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